Monday 20 April 2015

Ludwig van Beethoven, Fidelio - Salzburger Landestheater

Premiere performance 18th April

As a herald for the new production of Fidelio this summer during the Salzburg Festival the Salzburger Landestheater brings this liberty opera in a new production which premiered last saturday. Director Andreas Gergen shows a dark hommage for the victims of Guantanamo in his production which surely polarizes with some really violent moments. One might not be sure to like it but it clearly is a very impressive production full of interesting ideas. The staging (Heinz Hauser) is very dark and minimalistic with a series of cables as pictorialization of the prison. Especially during the dungeon Scene at the beginning of the second act the "choreography" of those cables was really impressive and intense. The costumes (Susanne Hubrich) were also fine and fitted perfectly into the scenery. The whole production showed that they Team really worked hard with this difficult piece and brought in some really interesting ideas. The dialogue Scenes for example came from a record which was probably better than the broken "singer-German". Also the ending has a special unusual Twist which might surprise People who know the work very well.
The Mozarteum orchestra did a fine job even though the harsh instrumentation and the dry acoustics of the auditorium were quite merciless. Sometimes it seemed that they had difficulties to create a harmonic sound together. Adrian Kelly's interpretation of the score was clear and quite considerate to the singers. Only some moments of dissension happened during the second act, but nothing really terrible. The choir (Chor und Extrachor des Salzburger Landestheaters) did a really good job and sang with great taste and power. Both the prisoner's choir and the finale were really great and impressive.
In the role of Don Fernando we heard Simon Schnorr who sang it appropriately even though I thought that the role should have been casted with a more heroic voice. Schnorr seemed a little bit to lyric and young for it. Nevertheless he gave a fine performance during his short appearance.
Totally different was Stephen Bronk's Rocco. Bronk has a very strong and profound voice with a rough Timbre. His voice fitted his character perfectly and he sang his part very tastefully and showed that his voice is also very agile.
Another strong voice was Adrian Gans as Don Pizzaro. Definitely one of the highlights of the performance! His stamina is really impressive and his whole portrayal of the role (musically and acting) was really astonishing and scary at once. He did not just play Pizzaro, he WAS Pizzaro! His vengeance song in the first act was really forcefully and alarming.
Kristofer Lundin as Jaquino also gave a wonderful performance with his strong youthful tenor voice. He showed that he has quite some stamina and his whole interpretation of the role was very thrilling and exciting. He probably will be a fine Florestan himself once in a few years.
Also really lovely was Laura Nicorescu as Marzelline. She has a very delicate light soprano voice with a very beautiful timbre but also enough power to be heard over the orchestra. Her German sounded way better than in Die Zauberflöte last autumn and her whole performance was really lovely.
Salzburg's darling, Franz Supper, sang Florestan and did a very good job. Even though you could hear that he reaches his limits with this role he performed it really well and gave a very exciting performance overall, especially during his big entry scene in the beginning of the second act. I sometimes had the feeling that he did not feel totally secure yet, but he sang well anyway.
As title hero Sinead Mulhern sang the role of Fidelio / Leonore. She seemed to have quite a lyric approach and had a nice warm voice. Unfortunately she sounds quite shrill in her upper register and during the lower passages she was covered by the orchestra from time to time. Nevertheless she was fine and interpreted the role appropriately with some small issues which were not that disturbing.
Generally I had the feeling that everyone still felt a little insecure and there were some moments during the second act when I thought everything would collapse, but they managed to maintain the performance appropriately and therefore they have my honest respect.
The whole production gets 7 stars.
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